Coaching and mentoring in business is crucial, you are allowing your employees to become a more valuable asset to your organisation by developing and enhancing their skillset. It is the positive transfer of knowledge between individuals, and heightens overall performance both personally, and professionally.
Not only are you promoting career progression by doing so, but by showing an interest in the growth of your team, you secure their loyalty to the business. Companies may choose to utilise both coaching and mentoring or may have a preference, choosing to focus on one method instead. In this blog post, we’ll be outlining why it is so vital you utilise these two training methods to grow your business, ensuring you reach your full potential. Overlooking these training programmes could see you lose valuable knowledge and experience as the next generation of employees enter your organisation, so ensure you succeed by implementing the right tactics.
What is coaching?
A must for any organisation, whether it by large or small. Coaching involves teaching employees new skills and processes, which as a result may give them a fresh perspective and therefore enable them to overcome challenging obstacles that previously blocked further progress.
It is a training method that can be used at any time and doesn’t need to be overly complicated to provide impressive results. Coaching could simply be delegating new responsibilities to an employee when delivering a project, or asking for their input to find a solution to challenging business issues. Whilst they may seem like insignificant stand-alone tasks, together they can quickly empower an individual and open up the opportunity for promotions.
Rather than focusing on always offering up information, entrust staff members to find the answers themselves. Instead, provide constructive feedback throughout a project and ensure targets are mutually agreed – and achievable.
What is a mentor?
The definition of a mentor varies wherever you look, but it boils down to an effective relationship between two individuals that is designed to build confidence and provide support, ultimately allowing the mentee to take control of their own development.
However you choose to interpret the definition, the very best relationships between mentors and mentees offer a mutual benefit – you will become a better manager as a result. But, understand that being a mentor comes with great responsibility as you nurture and guide progression, helping a mentee understand what it is they want to achieve. To form a worthwhile relationship you need to take a personal interest, listen and be readily available to offer support. Consider setting goals for you both from the offset, drawing up a schedule to track progress throughout the experience.
The differences between coaching and mentoring in business
Now we know what each individual method entails, what are the real differences between coaching and mentoring in business?
Coaching is often considered more of a short-term method than mentoring, and may therefore be used to achieve a specific aim – this training style may be used for solving problems, helping with objectives and improving performance. Commonly coaching focuses on hard skills, such as learning how to use a new software programme i.e. Powerpoint or Photoshop.
On the other hand, mentoring will usually extend over a longer period of time – potentially spanning across several months, or even years to see the mentee flourish in their chosen career path. The working relationship may focus more on soft skills, such as decision making and communication with the mentor bringing a new perspective alongside their experience and expertise. And whilst coaching may be for a whole organisation or division, mentoring is likely to be a one-on-one arrangement allowing for a close working relationship to form. Entering into a mentor/mentee relationship is both challenging and highly rewarding for each party involved.
The advantages of coaching
The majority of employees want their place of work to take an interest in their development and offer career progression. If you can incorporate coaching into everyday engagement with your employees you’ll be considered a great employer, and it can significantly increase staff satisfaction at the workplace with individuals feeling valued and more confident within their role.
What sets coaching apart from regular instruction, is it empowers the employee. It assumes the learner already knows the answer and works to draw this out of them, which is an especially effective technique. Alternatively, instructing hands the answer to the individual on a plate! Should a similar problem or question arise in the future, a staff member that has been coached rather than instructed is more likely to find their own solution, having developed the skills and confidence required to succeed. A coached team will:
- Be more self-reliant/confidence boost
- Communicate efficiently
- Have increased workplace satisfaction
- Contribute effectively to the business
As a business owner, coaching will enable you to identify talent and portray your commitment to the development of your team. Furthermore, you will be able to discover areas within your organisation that need improvement before it results in any issues.
The advantages of mentoring
Mentoring is not just for new recruits or junior level staff, it can serve all experience levels within your business – ensuring wisdom and support is on hand for mentees whilst increasing job satisfaction for the mentor as they see their protégé succeeding. It could be the difference between talented employees staying or leaving, as a one-to-one personalised progression path allows individuals to know they can grow with a company.
Of course, it is crucial you partner employees wisely – after all, feedback from a mentor you admire is far more likely to drive performance levels. It can be worthwhile pairing different divisions together, across a variety of seniority levels to truly enhance the experience. But by taking the time to form these working relationships before implementing them, you can secure the future success of your business too; valuable skills and knowledge will be transferred to the next generation of employees that would otherwise be lost when others move on or choose to retire. As a business owner, you should be thinking long-term rather than hoping for short success!
Why it’s so vital for growth: coaching and mentoring in business
Both training methods can provide increased job satisfaction, enhancement of skills and develop key business relationships, and we can clearly understand, therefore, why these are so important for your organisation. But how can they help your company actually grow?
As a business owner, it can be difficult to let go and delegate responsibility, however, when you empower and develop your team through coaching and mentoring you can trust that each individual will work effectively and passionately towards your businesses goals. You can then concentrate on furthering your company’s growth, knowing that your team are loyally working to help your business succeed.
What’s next? Implementing a training programme
Convinced? So, how do we implement coaching and mentoring in business? There are five key points to consider:
- Timescale – decide how long will the training programme last, and how regularly those involved should schedule catch-up sessions.
- Who in the organisation – try and ensure you include members with different seniority levels within different divisions, a cross-over of can actually increase the overall benefits.
- Forming relationships – as we’ve already noted, it’s important you take the time to carefully match and assign partners/teams, ensure both parties will be fully engaged and committed.
- Create goals – whether coaching or mentoring, ask those involved to set their own goals rather than setting them yourself: empower your staff.
- Listen to feedback – always be open to honest feedback, failure to do so could be damaging in the long term but by listening you can avoid any needless stress.
Using this basic outline will allow you to build the foundations of an effective training programme, utilising one of these two methods – or even both! If you are struggling to finalise a training method, or need further advice, don’t be afraid to ask your team how they feel they would best benefit; training is a two-way street, so it can be useful to gather opinions even prior to implementing a technique.
We hope in this blog post we’ve provided you with essential information to take away and utilise in your workplace, allowing you to develop your business to be the best it can be. Coaching and mentoring offer significant benefits to your organisation and should be incorporated as a regular practice within your business. By implementing these methods and putting your employee’s needs at the very heart of your company, you will build loyalty, trust and empowerment within the workplace. As your business continues to grow, it absolutely vital that you provide the opportunity for career progression which in turn, will see you attract a talented pool of employees.
If you need advice on how to reach your business goals, I can help. Together we’ll identify issues and formulate a straightforward plan to help you achieve these utilising effective coaching and mentoring methods, ultimately transforming the way you operate. Get in touch today at firstname.lastname@example.org or complete this contact form, and reach your business’s full potential now.